The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be a major push for companies all around the world to direct their employees to work from home. As employees are now expected to arrange infrastructure for smooth remote work, employers consider paying them extra money, especially since the companies are now saving up on overheads and rental costs, a report said on Monday. Indian office tenants spend as much as 4.3% of their revenues on corporate real estate which also includes rentals and overhead costs. “If they were to adopt a 50% work from home norm and have to compensate employees with Rs 10,000 per month for the work from home infrastructure, net savings on CRE (corporate real estate) would be down by 15% with impact on margins of 70 bps,” a Kotak Institutional Equities report said.
However, an argument against payments for working from home also persists. With work from home policy in place, there is also a counter argument against employers saving up on overheads and real estate. “The moot point on working from home and the potential savings from the same is whether ‘work from home’ is a convenience offered to employees and hence does not need to be compensated,” the report said, as opposed to the need for off-setting potential savings on corporate real estate expenses.
For employees, while work from home is plus thanks to factors such as avoiding long commute hours and saving up on travel costs, there are reasons to dissuade them from continuing to work remotely. They face various issues such as smaller homes which have larger households and weak infrastructure in terms of poor connectivity etc. India ranks poorly on internet connectivity. The country has an average download speed of 38 mbps compared to the world average of 78 mbps.
Meanwhile, TCS, which has targeted work from home for 75% of its employees, has still sought approval for building two IT parks. Many other companies are also looking for office spaces despite promoting work from home culture.